Commonwealth Games: Worth it?

Posted on August 31, 2010


The other day was watching the opening ceremony of the Youth Olympics games being held on a tiny bay at Singapore and wondering if India can put together a similar show. Honestly, it was not half as good as the Vancouver Winter Olympics which was only half as good as the Bejing Olympics. But seriously without being pessimistic, it would be an incredible achievement if the CWG opening ceremony is half as good as the opening ceremony of the Youth Olympics! So bad is the state of affair in India that a country gearing itself to compete against China is even struggling to match Singapore. The big question now, can India host a successful and memorable games, how much does it mean for India and how would the world look at it? Answer: only time will tell but let’s try to answer a few questions.

How will the games be? “We are a slow moving elephant, no doubt, but we are moving” once said the prime minister himself, so I believe the Stadia and other infrastructure will be on time, security and medical arrangements will be elaborate. And I am pretty sure authorities will dispose their best to confine the players, officials and visitors to posher areas of Delhi. Even if they do manage to stroll out to other parts of Delhi, don’t expect them to be complaining because they would be blown away by the uniqueness of India. Tourists in India expect places to be filthy and crowded, expect people to stare or admire them in awe and expect beastly honking. In a sense they come to experience some naturalism bored by perfectly mowed grass. As for the athletes, would get a reasonable haul of medals and should probably finish behind Australia, Canada and UK. In all probabilities would be a fairly well organised games (synonymous to the best games ever in Kalmadi’s dictionary) but is it worth the billions?!

Is India’s pride at stake? Certainly not, this is no good measure of India’s ability. If one can’t put together a CWG with 30,000 crore given India’s labour power, it simple means the people working on it are just incompetent or just retarded. Seriously Kalmadi, Malhotra; the only time these people made news was for corruption allegations and for moaning about the theme song; do they know anything else at all?! India’s surge as a global player is primarily because of the IT industry or In other words it’s the private sector that has strived hard to push India forward, the public sector if anything has been a hindrance in this progress. So a better measure would be an event involving the private players, that is exactly why I feel every Indian should watch out for the first Indian Grand Prix in 2011.

But why CWG? I cannot think of one good reason why would anyone want to host the CWG? What is the CWG anyway, a celebration for being enslaved? The commonwealth itself is a disgrace and the fact that the British Queen is the head of the Commonwealth is even more disgusting. The only reason I can think of is China’s successful bid for the Beijing Olympics and the worldwide attention it had got. India desperately wanted a piece of it! But the real worry is as Mani Shankar Aiyar rightly said ” the CWG is no more than a school sports meet” that involves the tiniest of tiny nations. Let’s make a brave assumption that the CWG has been an unprecedented success, but unlike the Olympics it may not attract the world attention. However make no mistake, all attention would certainly fall on India if something goes wrong. It could be as serious as a terrorist attack or even as small as a power failure or a dengue fever! Clearly India has nothing to gain, it is a lose-lose situation. A more informed decision (although never happens) would have been to bid for the 2014 Asian games which is a much bigger platform than the CWG.

What do you think? Please leave your comment below.

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